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New Orleans Saints: Playoffs Are Pipe Dream After 0-3 Start

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 23:   Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints is sacked in the endzone for a touchback by  Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 23, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Tim KeeneyContributor ISeptember 23, 2012

The New Orleans Saints thought things couldn't get any worse.

Whoops.

After an offseason that saw a bounty scandal turn the Saints into one of the most hated teams in the NFL while suspending multiple players and coaches in the process, New Orleans fans were likely just ready for the season to start—ready to put the "offseason from hell" far behind them.

Well, now they're probably just ready for the season to be over too.

The Saints opened the season with a home upset loss at the hands of the Washington Redskins. Then they traveled to Carolina and lost to the Panthers. On Sunday, they proved things could continue to get worse when they blew a winnable game against the Kansas City Chiefs, losing 27-24 in overtime.

The good news for the Saints? Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham and company can still move the ball with precision.

Brees threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns, while Sproles added 62 rushing yards on just seven touches and Graham found pay dirt. Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas also had productive games.

The bad news? It doesn't matter.

Another atrocious defensive performance helped the Saints blow a comfortable fourth-quarter lead, and they now join the mighty Cleveland Browns as the only winless teams in the NFL. If history is any indication (and it is), New Orleans fans should probably start working on their best Jim Mora impersonations.

Playoffs?!

The first crushing stat comes from the NFL Network's Jeff Darlington:

Harsh reality: After starting the season 0-3 with today's loss, statistics say Saints now have a 2.8 percent chance of making the playoffs.

— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) September 23, 2012

The second comes from commentator Tim Brando:

Saints absorb a devastating loss and it will be difficult to recover. Since 1970, only 5 teams have made the Playoffs after an 0-3 start.

— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) September 23, 2012

But hey, this season is already proving to be, well, weird. Crazier things have happened. The Saints could still make a push for the playoffs, right?

Well, technically, yes. But in reality, no.

The 0-3 record is bad, sure, but the way the Saints got to that point has been even worse.

In the first two games, it was the secondary that got torched. Against Kansas City, the same secondary held Matt Cassel to a painfully mediocre game, but the Saints forgot about someone.

Jamaal Charles.

The dynamic running back reeled off a crucial 91-yard touchdown run that was important in the Chiefs' comeback and finished the day with a ridiculous 233 rushing yards on 33 carries. He added six catches for 55 yards.

Another day and more happy fantasy owners thanks to the Saints defense.

Drew Brees will always be Drew Brees, and the Saints will constantly put up points, but as long as the defense continues to be this bad in every aspect of the game, this is a 7-9 team.

At best.

Oh, and in case things weren't bad enough, Gabe Feldman puts even more negative spin on the 0-3 record:

Not only are the Saints 0-3, but the teams that have beat them are 0-6 against everyone else.

— Gabe Feldman (@SportsLawGuy) September 23, 2012

Is it too early to nominate Sean Payton for Coach of the Year?

 

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